CHEYENNE — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist addressed the consistent increase in COVID-19 Coronavirus cases in Wyoming during a press conference today.
Governor Gordon said over the past two weeks, the state has averaged 98 new cases per day, which is more than any other time since the pandemic began. There are currently over 1,200 active cases in Wyoming.
“We are trending in the wrong direction, both in new cases and in hospitalizations,” Gordon said.
He believes a decrease in vigilance is to blame. The state is seeing more cases at the University of Wyoming, colleges, social gatherings, in the work place, and in schools.
“I do know that all of this is very fatiguing, but I have to say that our current scenario is extremely concerning,” Gordon said. “Folks, this is a serious call to action.”
Dr. Harrist said the increase of hospitalizations, which is currently reported to be at 36 hospitalized patients, is very concerning. With our hospitals being small, she said it does not take much for them to be overwhelmed.
She reminded Wyomingites that the hospitals need vacancy to be able to take care of every day health issues as well as COVID-19.
“We do not want the virus to spread at an overwhelming amount,” she said.
Governor Gordon said he has authorized the Wyoming National Guard to help the Wyoming Department of Health with contact tracing statewide. The National Guard started today and they will be helping for 30 days or less, depending on how long they are needed.
Public Health Orders Remain the Same
The state is not currently looking at implementing stricter public health orders, but is instead relying on resident actions to prevent further spread. Governor Gordon said the more presence of COVID-19 in Wyoming, the more people do not feel safe going out.
“That will slow our economic recovery and means more people will stay isolated longer when we need the exact opposite to happen. We need people feeling safe going out,” he said.
Dr. Harrist said part of the reason the state is not taking strict action on public health orders is because the Wyoming Department of Health and county health departments have more information on the virus and have more tools at their disposal for testing.
At-home saliva tests will soon be available for at home and at work use, Dr. Harrist said. Additionally, the state will receive 170,000 rapid tests between now and December. These test will allow more options and access to COVID-19 testing statewide. More information on these tests will be available soon.
Dr. Harrist also addressed Halloween in the time of COVID-19. She said people simply need to be safe when celebrating this year. While in-person costume parties are not a good idea, she said traditional trick-or-treating can be adjusted to be done safely.
“[Halloween] is not canceled, but safety remains extremely important,” Dr. Harrist said.
Longterm Care Facilities
Despite increased cases in longterm care facilities across the state, according to Dr. Harrist, indoor visitation is now being allowed in these facilities.
However, Dr. Harrist said this allowance brings along a more pressing need for personal responsibility to prevent spread of COVID-19 in communities.
More information on visitation can be found here: https://health.wyo.gov/aging/hls/.
Call to Action
Governor Gordon and Dr. Harrist said Wyoming residents need to be responsible and take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
Actions include social distancing, use of face coverings, hand washing, and staying home when sick even when symptoms are mild.
“It is through all of our actions that we can reduce the presence of the virus in our state and have a solid recovery,” Governor Gordon said.
THE LATEST COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS NEWS & INFO FROM THE WYOMING DEPT. OF HEALTH
What to do if you feel sick: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, please call your primary care provider or seek medical attention.
Please follow these tips to slow the spread of this virus:
- Follow Public Health Orders
- Wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when physical distancing of at least 6 feet isn’t practical.
- Stay home when sick and avoid other people unless you need medical attention.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Older people and those with health conditions that mean they have a higher chance of getting seriously ill should avoid close-contact situations.
- Long-term care and healthcare facilities should follow guidelines for infection control and prevention.
For current news, updates, closures and resources, please visit our COVID-19 Coronavirus page here.